Use of the informational spectrum methodology for rapid biological analysis of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV: prediction of potential receptor, natural reservoir, tropism and therapeutic/vaccine target

F1000Res. 2020 Jan 27;9:52. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.22149.4. eCollection 2020.


A novel coronavirus recently identified in Wuhan, China (SARS-CoV-2) has expanded the number of highly pathogenic coronaviruses affecting humans. The SARS-CoV-2 represents a potential epidemic or pandemic threat, which requires a quick response for preparedness against this infection. The present report uses the informational spectrum methodology to identify the possible origin and natural host of the new virus, as well as putative therapeutic and vaccine targets. The performed in silico analysis indicates that the newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV and, to a lesser degree, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV. Moreover, the well-known SARS-CoV receptor (ACE2) might be a putative receptor for the novel virus as well. Actin protein was also suggested as a host factor that participates in cell entry and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2; therefore, drugs modulating biological activity of this protein (e.g. ibuprofen) were suggested as potential candidates for treatment of this viral infection. Additional results indicated that civets and poultry are potential candidates for the natural reservoir of the SARS-CoV-2, and that domain 288-330 of S1 protein from the SARS-CoV-2 represents promising therapeutic and/or vaccine target.

Keywords: 2019-nCoV; MERS; SARS; Wuhan coronavirus.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 / chemistry
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Vaccines*
  • China
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Virus / chemistry
  • SARS-CoV-2 / chemistry*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / chemistry
  • Viral Tropism*


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2

Grant support

The author(s) declared that no grants were involved in supporting this work.